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Misandry - Real or imaginary?

(100 Posts)
ZombiePuffinsAreREAL Thu 30-Oct-14 17:31:06

This is being discussed on another thread, which was started by someone else about a completely different subject, so I felt that it would be better and more polite to start a new thread where it could be discussed properly, and without stealing someone else's thunder, if you will.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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dreamingbohemian Thu 30-Oct-14 17:46:52

I would be really interested to hear more about this, as I'm not familiar with the debates around this.

I would think misandry as a concept is not imaginary -- people can be prejudiced against anything, including men, so you need a word or a concept for that. So I'm curious what you mean about imaginary. Do you mean it's often imagined to exist where it doesn't? Because I do notice that women talking about patriarchy etc are often accused of misandry wrongfully.

I hope you don't mind my asking basic questions.

dreamingbohemian Thu 30-Oct-14 17:54:48

Further to Buffy's posts...

My feeling is that you can say misandry exists without equating it to misogyny or believing it to be equally problematic.

I guess I apply the same kind of distinction as between prejudice and racism (i.e. anyone can be prejudiced but racism has an element of power which restricts it to certain groups)

Scarletohello Thu 30-Oct-14 18:00:38

I think it's a natural and understandable reaction to being part of an oppressed group. Sometimes it seems that sexism and misogyny is so pervasive it's hard not to tar all men with the same brush. Even if men aren't actively contributing to it, they perpetuate it in so many ways, even if unthinkingly. Remember, the last 'privilege' in the list of male privilege is that men aren't even waste they are privileged, it just seems like the natural order to them.

MrsTerrorPratchett Thu 30-Oct-14 18:01:27

People can be prejudiced against anything. People are mean to and nasty about people with red hair? Do we need a word for that? Maybe not because, nasty as it is, it's not a structural, all-encompassing, systematic thing.

Naming it, with a word used by MRAs to silence women, is worrying.

I get shouted down regularly about the racism is prejudice plus power thing, when people say white people suffer racism, and I say they don't, so what do I know?

Damsili Thu 30-Oct-14 18:01:32

Bookmark - and I need to come back later.

But I just want to add to the post above that I think you can't define racism as requiring power without acknowledging that power dynamics can exist in a variety of dynamics. Say, in a predominantly black school, a white pupil could absolutely be subject to racist bullying. That's probably a poor example and open to criticism, but I hope people will understand the general point I'm trying to make.

MrsTerrorPratchett Thu 30-Oct-14 18:02:10

x-posted with dreaming

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Hakluyt Thu 30-Oct-14 18:15:16

Has anyone mentioned the Coke advertisement yet?

ZombiePuffinsAreREAL Thu 30-Oct-14 18:16:23

Give it time, Hak grin

cadno Thu 30-Oct-14 18:19:47

Well, look have you seen the coke advert.....

MrsTerrorPratchett Thu 30-Oct-14 18:42:29

I thought it was Diet Coke.

Anyway the child being bullied in school because they are white is a good start. That child is being bullied, that is terrible. That child is being bullied because of prejudice, that's awful. That child will probably have the option to go to the white board of governors, the white Police, the white Courts, the white press. The child won't see media all the time that others them, they won't assume their colour means they won't achieve in school. They probably haven't been systematically ignored more, excluded more, punished more by teachers. And so on.

I know people will nitpick the details of what I've written But the fact is that women as a class deal with misogyny and black people as a class deal with racism. In almost every part of their life.

Damsili Thu 30-Oct-14 19:56:24

So, on that other thread, I tried to suggest that misandry not only existed, but could and should form a part of feminist thinking.

It's contended that misandry is imaginary. In considering this, I think first of the literal definition, 'hatred of men'. As various posters on various FWR threads have revealed, they often struggle with men as a class. Having had their eyes opened by feminism, they find it difficult not to see all men with reference to the abuses that they are now confronted with. The very fact of being a man therefore becomes a negative attribute by an association that an individual isn't themselves responsible for. People indulge this to greater or lesser extents, but this is clearly not an imaginary thing. People admit to it, so it seems to me that it must be very real.

Secondly, I think of the development of misogyny to mean an action or attitude that reinforces women's role in a patriarchy. It is not hatred; a mother might perform a misogynist action when preventing her daughter from dressing up as, say, a fire fighter and forcing her into a Princess dress. In this sense, there are also attitudes and actions that force men into patriarchal roles and those roles directly affect women. Less 'soft' emotions; more physical aggression; sexual pursuit; not doing housework; not engaging fully with children; if these are social constructs - as they surely must be under feminist thinking - then these taught behaviors are key enablers of women's oppression. I see no problem with defining misandry as attitudes and actions that reinforce men's roles in a patriarchy. In this sense, misandry is not a concept that competes with misogyny and there is no sense that the two have to have equivalence in terms of negative effect. In fact, it should be clear that misandry has a negative, if indirect, effect on women.

As it stands, however, it seems we wish to define misandry as the wild ravings of MRAs keen to expound their views on Diet Coke ads; this is just my opinion, but the misuse of a word by a small, if vocal, minority isn't really any of our concern.

thedancingbear Thu 30-Oct-14 20:23:18

This has become a discussion purely about semantics, hasn't it? Does anyone on this board deny that any of the following phenomena exist? I think the answer's probably no:

(i) That society structurally discriminates against girls and women such that all other variables being equal men are at an advantage

(ii) That society (not just men) pressurises people into behaving in accordance with gender roles which speaking generally affect women much worse than men

(iii) but which can also function non-trivially to men's detriment (cf. suicide rates)

(iv) that [many] men are horrible to women just because of their gender

(v) that [fewer] women are horrible to men just because of their gender

Because depending on your personal preferences you could apply a misogyny/misandry tag to each of these. My non-technical understanding of 'misogyny' chimes much more with (iv) than (i) or (ii) and against that background surely 'misandry' is accurate for (v). I don't see a fundamental problem with feminism appropriating the term to describe (ii) but then it seems to make sense as a matter of simple linguistic symmetry for 'misandry' to refer to (iii). Arguments that 'misandry' doesn't exist could (not by me) be understood to be an attempt to define (iii) out of existence, which I think would be underhand and slightly bollocks.

Just my two pennorth. Not trying to 'mansplain' or anything like that.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thedancingbear Thu 30-Oct-14 20:44:44

It is contended that the word and its roots (deliberately chosen to mirror misogyny irc, misos being hatred and andro being men) were conceived to boost the impression that there is an equivalence between the structural oppression women face and the ways that patriarchy hurts men too.

Buffy, you must recognise that these aren't the same thing? That you don't need to think there is a qualitative or quantitative equivalence between 'misogyny' and 'misandry' to recognise that gender stereotypes hurt men too?

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thedancingbear Thu 30-Oct-14 20:51:45

Ah ok, fair enough, I get you now. apologies.

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Damsili Thu 30-Oct-14 21:03:41

That sounds, Buffy, as if you think I'm proposing some revolutionary move grin Not at all, I think as Bear says, there's an element of semantics here; we can identify the dynamics, they are separate and distinct from patriarchy and misogyny, and we have a word that fits the meaning. As I said in the other thread, when we see something like the word 'wimp' it can be called out as misandry. Notions that men have to be crap at domestic and child-related issues - misandry. Etc etc. It's just another tool in our cupboard for dismantling patriarchy. Nothing so seismic about that!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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